On July 26th through July 28th, more than 200 Soccer for Success coaches from around the country traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in our 2nd annual Soccer for Success National Coaches Training. The three-day event combined on-field training sessions with a series of guest speakers and curriculum discussions designed to prepare coaches for the upcoming season of Soccer for Success.
Day 1 kicked off with an interactive overview of the Soccer for Success program, led by our very own Director of Programs & Grants, Wylie Chen. We were then treated to a presentation from Dr. Ian Smith, member of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. After getting quizzed on our knowledge of fiber and whole grains by Dr. Ian Smith, we headed out to the Ellipse for our first field session and a quick review of soccer basics. The perfect summer weather, paired with a picturesque backdrop, made for an awesome afternoon of training!
On Day 2, we focused on the finer points of the Soccer for Success curriculum. During our field session, we reviewed Game Day procedures and then had some fun scrimmaging one another in a series of small-sided games. It was really exciting to watch each team improve over the course of the afternoon as they played their way, tournament-style, through each competitor and learned proper techniques for coaching on Game Day.
On the third and final day of training, each participant had an opportunity to demonstrate their new Soccer for Success knowledge through a series of “teach-backs.” This exercise required coaches to create, plan and execute an element of the Soccer for Success curriculum in front of their entire training team. This was by far my favorite part of the weekend because it showcased the diversity of coaching styles present in our program and the true character of our Soccer for Success coaches. This was an intimidating exercise for many coaches, and I was truly humbled by the encouragement and support that all of our coaches offered one another throughout the session.
While we saw a lot of familiar faces at this year’s event, it was also very exciting to have the opportunity to meet our newest coaches and welcome them to the U.S. Soccer Foundation family. Growing the game is a team effort, and we are so inspired by all of our coaches’ commitment to using soccer as a vehicle for social change in their own communities. They’re well-prepared for the upcoming season of Soccer for Success and we can’t wait to host them again at next year’s National Coaches Training!
To see photos from the event, be sure to check out our Facebook photo album.